It’s morning. I’m looking out my bedroom window as I write this post. A gentle rain is falling and I can smell the wet earth as she gives thanks for the nourishment. A multitude of birds is chorusing their song of thanks as well. Vibrant emerald green leaves on the 1200 hectares of trees in the valley below and beyond give testament to the eternal flow of life and abundance. My heart swells with joy and gratitude for this brief moment of total, conscious awareness. I give thanks for the deep knowing that at any time I can leave the monkey mind with all its fears and insecurities and bear witness through the heart, to the ever-loving, benevolent nature of my true being. Deep joy lives there…
Showing Up Creatively Is Like Hanging Out With the Divine
That’s the thing about showing up for ourselves, creatively I mean, because any act of creative expression can be likened to hanging out with the Divine for awhile, that eternal well-spring, the vein of gold, the mother-lode of joy and all that is unconditionally loving.
Why Do We Resist This So Much?
Please, please, please, would someone tell me why, oh, why do we resist this so much?! Why does it often feel like I’d rather slit my wrists and bleed slowly onto the floor, than to simply, calmly, and maturely, sit at my desk and bleed my heart onto the page? (or canvas, or piano, or dance floor)
What Paralyzing Fear Can Teach Us About Creativity
According to Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, being paralyzed with fear when it comes to our creativity is a good thing. He writes, “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”
When We Deny Our Creative Expression
This is good news because it tells us that our soul is trying to point us in the right direction, that in fact, all the resistance is just our ‘little self’ having a hissy fit, being childish, pouting with arms crossed, and basically saying “I refuse to grow. I don’t want to, and I won’t. You can’t make me!” Well, like all small children with a stubborn streak, there will be consequences, only for the grown-up in you, those consequences won’t involve being grounded for a day or having your TV privileges revoked. Oh no, nothing so insignificant. For the grown-up version of you, you can expect your consequence (and there is only one that goes with denying our creative self) to be a loss of joy. Need I say more? Is it worth it? I say take that fear and kick it to kingdom come…with a thank you, of course.
Some Quotes Serve As Good Reminders
One of my favorite creative warriors is the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the famed book Eat. Pray. Love. I want to be like her when I grow up. She’s just so adult about the whole creative process, so steady, so stable about it all. I want her quote (below) tattooed to my forehead, but alas, my forehead’s not big enough. Maybe my ass would be the better location. That way I could mine such joy from knowing that every time I sat at my desk to write I’d be squashing my fear. Hmmmm….some food for thought. Here’s what Elizabeth has to say about fear and the creative process:
Your Fear Is Boring
“Your fear is boring. I can say this with all honesty and authority because I know for a fact that my fear is the most boring thing about me. This is especially true when it comes to living a life of creativity. Fear is boring, because fear only ever has one thing to say to us, and that thing is: “STOP!” For over 25 years now, my fear has been shouting “STOP!” to me, every single time I sit down to write. Fear never has a more interesting insight to offer. Never. Just that one word, repeated and repeated with increasing hysteria: “STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP!!!!!” My fear wants me to stop because my fear wants me to be safe, and my fear perceives all motion, all inspiration, all work, all activity, all passion whatsoever as potentially life-threatening. My fear wants me to live a smaller life. The smallest imaginable life, ideally. My fear would prefer that I never got out of bed. Your fear is the same. Exactly the same as mine. I guarantee it. Your fear must not be allowed to make decisions about creativity, passion, inspiration, dreams. Your fear doesn’t understand these things, and so it makes the most boring possible decisions about them. Your fear mistakes creativity and inspiration for saber-toothed tigers and wolf packs. They aren’t. Creativity and inspiration are the vehicles that will transport you to the person you most need to become. Sit down and have a quiet conversation with your fear. Tell it that you will listen respectfully, say, when your fear warns you not to go swimming in 15-foot waves when you aren’t a strong swimmer. But you will not listen to your fear anymore when a small hopeful voice inside you says, “I want to make something.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
The Entire Cosmos Is Creative Energy
When you think about it, the entire cosmos is creative energy and we are made of that. Why resist what we really are? I know when I look up at the stars and into that infinite black space, I am only ever filled with wonder and awe, with a quiet joy and immense gratitude. That creative energy was designed to move through us, as a messenger of imagination, as an emissary of genius, as a bearer of originality, as an ambassador to all that is, as an agent of ingenuity. So, to all the creative geniuses out there who feel stuck and afraid, time to go make something, and then again, and again.
Time to shoot for an unimaginable life of joy.
Are You Creatively Stuck Right Now?
I would love to hear from you. In the comments below, let me know:
- What fears come up for you when you decide you want to make/create something?
- Is there anything specific you can share that helps you get past your fear?
Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. The more you share, the more your words and your comments may help someone else. And, if you have friends, clients or colleagues who might be fighting with their fear of creative expression, share this post with them. They’ll love you for it.
Warmest love and joy,